Dutch PM blames climate change for deadly flooding in Europe
‘Something is really happening, let’s be clear,’ says Mark Rutte while visiting an area of the Netherlands that suffered damage
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Storms that have lashed Europe are “without doubt” the result of climate change, the Dutch prime minister said, as a collection for the badly hit south of the country topped one million euros.
More than 150 people have died in the worst floods in decades in Europe, mostly in Germany, according to the latest toll on Saturday.
Several towns in southern Netherlands suffered damage from flooding this week — though they were spared the worst seen in Germany and Belgium — and no deaths have been reported.
Asked late Friday during a visit to the southern province of Limburg whether global warming had contributed to the disaster, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that was “without a doubt the case.”
“I don’t want to make hasty declarations,” he said. “But something is really happening, let’s be clear.”
More than one million euros has been collected for a fund to aid the worst-hit areas in the Netherlands, the ANP news agency reported.
To stop any future flood disasters, “the first thing to do, and fortunately we are doing it in the Netherlands, is to give space to rivers,” Rutte said.
After major flooding in 1993 and again in early 1995, when 250,000 people and one million animals had to be evacuated, the Dutch reshaped areas around the rivers.
More than two billion euros was invested to widen riverbanks. The project was completed in 2019.
“We see that neighboring countries are saying ‘we must learn still more from the Dutch to deal with the fact that there will be more water in coming years,'” said Rutte.
But the Dutch will also have to “learn lessons” and ask “what more can we do?”